Multi-device e-learning is rapidly expanding to meet the learning needs of its end users. Recent developments in HTML5 mean that designers can now develop a single e-learning module which can work across multiple devices such as smartphones, tablets and laptops. The solution developed to meet this need is responsive e-learning.
The future, according to Ethan Marcotte is Responsive Web Design (RWD). Marcotte coined the term in his article in A List Apart in 2010.‘Rather than tailoring disconnected designs to each of an ever-increasing number of web devices, we can treat them as facets of the same experience’. Designers need to practice responsive web design; this means designing for an optimal viewing experience, and ‘embed standards-based technologies into our designs to make them not only more flexible, but more adaptive to the media that renders them’.
But what exactly is RWD? Wikipedia defines it as
web design approach aimed at crafting sites to provide an optimal viewing experience.
This means designing e-learning content for multiple devices that are easy to read, navigate and with a minimum of resizing, panning and scrolling. Adaptive design adapts layout to the display environment using:
- fluid, proportion-based grids
- flexible images
- media queries
Designers need to cater for all screen sizes and this is where adaptive design comes in. Adaptive design relies on predefined screen sizes. Aaron Gustafson created the term, Adaptive Web Design. It uses progressive enhancement components ‘aimed at crafting experiences that serve your users by giving them access to content without technological restrictions.
Marcotte explains, ‘Now more than ever, we’re designing work meant to be viewed along a gradient of different experiences. Responsive web design offers us a way forward, finally allowing us to ‘design for the ebb and flow of things’.
Responsive web design is an intelligent way for organisations to display different content that adapts to multiple devices. For example: desktop learning content may differ to the content displayed on a smart phone. A mobile friendly website is critical if companies want to see return on investment. Training organisations that use responsive web design for developing e-learning content for multiple devices help their users’ access e-learning content whenever they need.
Increasing your mobile traffic through responsive web design is a worthwhile investment; it simplifies internet marketing and SEO and streamlines the organisation’s analytics, strategy development and deployment.